To investigate intrinsic palatal and alveolar tissue deficiency in patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) as compared to age-matched individuals without UCLP using surface area measurements on 3D scans of plaster casts.
22 maxillary casts of infants with UCLP from the Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery of NYU Langone Medical Center and 37 maxillary casts from infants without clefts from Sillman’s longitudinal study were scanned by Ortho Insight 3D by Motion View Software, LLC (Chattanooga, TN) and measured using Checkpoint software (Stratovan, Davis, CA). The palatal and alveolar surface areas of each cast were measured. The most superior point of the alveolar ridge in front of the incisive papilla and the most superior point of each maxillary tuberosity were connected by a line that ran along the highest part of the alveolar ridge. This line was used to set boundaries for the palatal surface area measurements. The surface areas of greater and lesser segments were measured independently on UCLP casts. A total palatal surface area for the UCLP sample including width of the cleft gap was also measured.
There was a statistically significant difference in surface area ( > .001) when we compared the UCLP area of the cleft segments alone with the non-cleft sample. There was a positive correlation (determine the statistical significance) between the surface area of the cleft segments and cleft gap. In addition, there was a statistically significant difference between UCLP plus cleft area and the non-cleft samples in surface area ( < .0001).
An intrinsic palatal and alveolar tissue deficiency exists in patients born with UCLP. The amount of tissue deficiency for a patient with UCLP should be considered when developing and executing a patient-specific treatment plan.